Associate Director, Research

Date advertised

22 September 2020

Closing date

29 October 2020


Research & Innovation


Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design

Required hours

Full Time


All three sites



The Royal College of Art is the UK’s only entirely postgraduate institution of art and design, dedicated to teaching, research and knowledge exchange with industry. In 2020, the RCA was named the world’s leading art and design institute for the sixth consecutive year by the QS World University Rankings by Subject. 

Located across three sites in central London (Battersea, Kensington, and White City) and with planned and increasing online and blended opportunities, the RCA has around 2,400 students from more than 75 countries, with ambitious plans to launch new programmes, underpinned by its world-class research. The College’s global dimension is enhanced through extensive links with business and industry and its partnerships with leading art and design, cultural, and educational institutions, and has more than 500 permanent academic, technical and administrative staff, with more than 1,000 visiting lecturers and professors, including internationally renowned artists, designers, theorists and practitioners. These staff, together with innovative forms of teaching and learning, and dedicated technical facilities and research centres, all contribute to create an exceptional creative and intellectual environment and a remarkable record of graduate employment.

The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design

The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design (HHCD) provides a dedicated focus for people-centred and inclusive design and innovation at the RCA. Established in January 1999, building on the success of the DesignAge programme initiated in 1991, the HHCD has built an impressive large programme of research, knowledge transfer and international outreach to academic, voluntary sector and business communities. As the HHCD has grown in size and reputation, its work has focussed around two Research Groups:  Age & Diversity, and Healthcare; and two Impact Areas:  Inclusive Design for Social Impact, and Inclusive Design for Business Impact.

The HHCD has a portfolio of projects spanning academia, industry, government and the third sector. It recently won a £4.9 million grant from Research England to establish the Design Age Institute, complementing its existing programmes. The Centre defined the term ‘Inclusive Design’ in 1994 – now an internationally recognised category in the discipline – and continues to develop theory and deliver practical projects in the field. It is considered a global thought leader in Inclusive Design, celebrating its 30-year anniversary in 2021.

This is an exciting time to be joining the RCA, building on our world-leading reputation for innovative research and teaching in art and design, and an outstanding track record of project delivery. 

We are seeking an Associate Director, Research to play a significant role in developing the next phase of the HHCD’s research activity.  The successful candidate will have a background of research in Design, Engineering, Social Science or a related discipline and a successful track record of generating substantial research income. They will be a proven leader with the ability to manage the Centre’s portfolio of research projects and other activities. Working closely with the Director of the HHCD, the Associate Director, Research will support their vision to work with a cross-disciplinary team, develop and lead research agendas in Inclusive Design, secure increased levels of research funding, and undertake collaborative projects with partners across academia, industry and local and national government. 

This new post represents an opportunity to lead the growth of research at the HHCD. The successful candidate will bring an international research pro?le to an established RCA research centre with a global reach. Reporting to the Director of the HHCD, the post-holder will also work closely with the Design Age Institute and other RCA Research Centres including the Intelligent Mobility Design Centre, the HELIX Centre, the Material Science Research Centre, the Computer Science Research Centre, and the Robotics Lab, as well as across College with the RCA’s other academic and professional services staff.  

The post-holder will also work closely with the Director of the HHCD in leading the work of the Centre’s research staff and doctoral students, managing the day-to-day support of their research career development.  

If you wish to discuss the role or require further information, please contact Jacqui Anthony, Resourcing Partner via email 

How to apply

When applying online, please go to the how to apply section and upload as separate documents:

  • A covering letter (no more than three pages of A4) with narrative text setting out your interest in the role, how you match the criteria, and describing the nature and achievements in your field and wider leadership and managerial responsibilities held and achievements therein.
  • A comprehensive curriculum vitae (CV) detailing relevant academic and professional qualifications, full employment history.
  • Details of your current remuneration and contact details for two referees, one of whom should be your current employer.  (Referees will not be contacted without your permission)

The closing date for applications is 29 October 2020.   

The Selection Panel will meet to shortlist the field and shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend interview later in November 2020. 

Final appointment is subject to receipt of satisfactory references.   

Further details:  Information Pack  
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The Royal College of Art is an equal opportunities employer. The College particularly welcomes applications from all sections of the community and would particularly encourage members of minority groups to apply.  

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